The Lot or Part of Fortune
by Robert Hand
Copyright 1996 by Robert Hand (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Lot or
Part of Fortune
Most astrologers have encountered the Part (or Lot as the Greeks called it) of Fortune, but have little idea of what to do with it. The modern literature on the subject is of little help tending to make it an extremely abstract symbol, something "karmic." To complicate things further, it is now clear that for approximately 50% of all people the Part of Fortune is usually computed incorrectly, namely those persons born at night between sunset and sunrise. I'll come back to that in a moment. The Part of Fortune is computed in the following manner:
Day Births: Fortune = Ascendant + Moon - Sun
These formulae should be interpreted as in this way: compute the longitudes of the Ascendant, Moon and Sun as measured from 0 degrees of Aries. This is done according to the table below.
Let's say someone has an Ascendant of 20 Virgo, a Moon of 4 Aries, and a Sun at 17 Aquarius. An Ascendant of 20 Virgo means a Descendant of 20 Pisces. Since the Sun is between the Ascendant and the Descendant, this is a night birth so we use the night birth formula.
Ascendant 20 Virgo + 150 = 170
Fortune = 170 + 317 - 4 = 483.
If the Sun were at 9 Cancer with this Ascendant and Moon, the chart would be a day birth so we would use the Day formula.
Ascendant 20 Virgo + 150 = 170
Fortune = 170 + 4 - 99 = 75.
The reason why most people who are born at night have been given the wrong Part of Fortune is that most of the modern authorities have used the day formula for night births! This is because one ancient authority, Ptolemy, seemed to advocate doing all charts with the day formula. We are now fairly certain from our new translation of Ptolemy and his ancient commentators that he did not intend this. Most other ancient sources advocated using the day formula for day births and the night formulas for night and so did the medieval astrologers. And these people knew what to do with the Part of Fortune.
Let me conclude this note by giving a very brief description of what the Part of Fortune is. The Part of Fortune is used to describe the basic way in which the individual is physically connected with the surrounding world. It is one of the significators of the body and health, and it is the primary significator of prosperity, and also career as it relates to prosperity. But the method of using it will come as a bit of a surprise. This is one of the most important discoveries that Project Hindsight has made. In my next note I'll go into that.
The Lot or Part of Fortune
In the first installment of this series of notes I described the method for computing the Part of Fortune and said a bit about what it meant, that it was the key to understanding the native's prosperity and career. In this installment I will go further into its symbolism and say more about its proper use according to the Greeks.
As I have said, the Part of Fortune is a primary indicator of prosperity, but it is more than that. It is created out of the longitudes of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant, and therefore is composed out of the three of the most important places in the chart (only the Midheaven outside of these three is as important) and as a result becomes as important as they are. In modern astrology there is a tendency to regard the Part of Fortune as a minor point in the chart, but this was not the case with ancient astrology.
In ancient astrology the Ascendant is the primary indicator of the physical body and health. The Moon is also a very important secondary indicator about the body. But there is a difference between them. The Ascendant was considered to be the body at its most physical, material level. The Moon was the living aspect of the body, in fact soul, but soul incarnated in a physical body. The Part of Fortune, being composed of both of these along with the Sun, is also an indicator of the living, physical body and its relationships with the physical and social world in which the native lives. Its capacity to signify prosperity comes from this. If the Part of Fortune is in good condition, the relationship between the native and the physical and social world in which he or she lives is one that supports the native and enables the native to live well. If the Part of Fortune is in poor condition, the native has a harder time living in relationship with the world that supports the native. The same can also be said about the relationships of the Part of Fortune and health.
However, in the case of both significations one must keep in mind that no one indication in the chart, not even the Part of Fortune, can be taken by itself as a total indicator of any area of life. For health one must also look at the Ascendant, its ruler, the Moon and its ruler. Also the sixth and eighth houses as indicators of illness and death respectively have strong indications for health. For material prosperity one should also look at the second house, the tenth house, and their rulers.
That said, however, the Part of Fortune is well placed when there are benefics or dignified planets in the same sign with it (the fact that "sign" is referred to here is very important as will be seen later on), or these same kinds of planets aspect the Part of Fortune. [Note: if the terms "benefic" and "dignified" are strange to you, they will be explained at the end of this article.] Also it was said to help the Part of Fortune if it was in a sign that was ruled by benefics, and any point in a chart is helped by being in a sign ruled by a dignified planet.
The Part of Fortune is not so well placed if it is in a sign with malefics, especially if the malefics are debilitated. Squares, oppositions, and conjunctions with malefics are also not considered to be very good. As a modern astrologer I would have to say that such indications do not mean poverty or bad health so much as they mean that the native will have to work harder or has a narrower range of possible routes to success. But given those two considerations, the results can still be very positive.
As my concluding comment in this installment, let me say that the Part of Fortune is not merely a point like the planets or the nodes. It is the start of a house system. The sign of the Part of Fortune is the first house of the Fortuna system, and the first house of the Fortuna system extends from 0 degrees to 30 degrees of the sign in which the Part is located. And each of the other houses of the Fortuna system also extend from 0 degrees to 30 degrees of their respective signs. In the next installment I will describe what the ancients said should be done with these houses.
General Comment about Both Benefics and
Dignified and Debilitated
The Lot or Part of Fortune
If the Part of Fortune is a first house marker, our natural tendency as modern Western astrologers is make the degree of the Part the cusp of the first house and to set up equal houses from the Part using the Part as an Ascendant. However, from the material we have found so far in Project Hindsight what the ancient astrologers actually did was a bit different. And what they did was characteristic of house division in all of the oldest texts including, we now know, Ptolemy himself. As I have already mentioned, the houses of the Fortuna system were measured from 0 degrees to 30 degrees of the sign that the Part of Fortune was in. This practice, which has been dubbed whole-sign house division, was not only used with the Part of Fortune, but also with the Ascendant itself! The entire modern problem of house division did not exist for the ancients. They did not see the signs as separate from the houses. The houses were simply roles that the signs took on depending upon their relation to some point that marked one of the signs as being the first house or place ("place" is the proper translation of the word that the ancients used for house as we use the word). That marking point was called in Greek, horoskopos.
If that word sounds familiar, it should. It is the basis of the word 'horoscope', and its literal meaning is "hour marker," not "watcher of the hour" as often stated in the texts. The hour marker was any point that had the ability to mark a sign as a first house or place for some purpose. In modern astrology we have sun-sign astrology, a technique not widely respected by professional astrologers. Yet in sun-sign astrology we see an ancient practice used (simple-mindedly to be sure) in a modern context. In sun-sign astrology the Sun is a horoskopos in exactly the ancient manner; it marks the sign of the Sun as a first house or place. All other signs become houses or places with respect to the sign of the Sun. The only problem with modern sun-sign astrology is that the solar horoskopos was supposed to be used to describe a native's father, not the native, and then only if the native was born in the daytime.
The ancients in the West used the Ascendant and the Part of Fortune as the major hour markers. The ancients of the East in India used the Ascendant and the Moon is the primary hour markers. What is interesting here is that the Part of Fortune is a part associated with the Moon! Apparently these practices are related.
The following is a quotation from Paulus Alexandrinus a 4th century author:
"And Fortune signifies everything that concerns the body, and what one does through the course of life. It becomes indicative of possessions, reputation and privilege."
And Vettius Valens who lived at about the same time as Ptolemy wrote the following:
". . . the Lot itself will possess the power of the Horoskopos, that of life; the tenth zoidion [sign] from this, the power of the Midheaven, that of reputation; the 7th, the power of the Descendant; the 4th, of the subterraneous zoidion, and the remaining places will possess the power of the 12 regions."
In another place he wrote "We have also found the 11th place [sign counted as a house] from Fortune to be an acquisitive place, a bestower of belongings and goods, and especially when benefics are upon it or are testifying [aspecting]."
These statements are holding up in practice. I have found that the sign of the Part of Fortune and its ruler give very good information on profession as it relates to making money along with the tenth house (counted in the usual manner from the Ascendant). The tenth sign from the sign of the Part of Fortune is also very good for helping to describe the actual social role that the occupation serves. The eleventh sign from the Part has a special role in determining both how well and by what means one earns money. Astrologers who actually earn money from doing astrology have been seen to have Mercury in the sign of the Part of Fortune, or the eleventh sign from the Part of Fortune, or ruling either of these. Mercury is the ancient ruler of astrology before Uranus was discovered. And I would have to say that it still works! The ancient writers also said that the Part of Fortune and the houses derived from it had to with the body, health, and actions that are done spontaneously or on an emotional basis.
Another interesting Fortuna house is the seventh. While it may have something to do with relationships, its primary symbolism seems to derive from its being the opposition to the Part itself, and the effect is stronger if a point in the seventh Fortuna place is closer to the exact opposition to the Part of Fortune. One of the oldest significations of the seventh house was death because the Sun set there and its light was extinguished. The Fortuna seventh of course is not a sunset point, but since the Part of Fortune has something to do with the body, the opposition to the Part seems to have something to with illness and physical problems.
Much more work needs to be on the Part of Fortune, and this can only be considered a taste. However, we are not done with parts yet. There are many other parts as well, and many of these also serve as hour markers. We will take up some of these in the next installment.
The Lot or Part of Fortune
We now come to some of the other lots. As of this writing we have found over two dozen lots which come from Egyptian sources. This should dispel once and for all the notion that lots are Arabic. Most of them in fact are from a book called the Panaretos which was attributed to Hermes Tresmegistes. He is no doubt a legendary figure with no historical basis, but anything attributed to him before the Middle Ages can be safely ascribed to Hellenistic Egyptian sources or earlier. The Lot of Fortune was attributed to the also legendary Nechepso and Petosiris, a legendary pharaoh and his priest.
First of all several lots were assigned to the planets. Of these the Lot of Fortune, as I have mentioned, was assigned to the Moon, the Lot of Spirit to the Sun. The Lot of Spirit is the second most important of the lots. Its formula is very simple. It is the same as the Lot of Fortune, but with the Sun and Moon positions in the formula reversed. Thus the formula for the Lot of Spirit by day is the same as the Lot of Fortune by night, and vice versa. The following formulas should make this clear.
Lot of Fortune
Lot of Spirit
People who have been born at night and have been using the Lot of Fortune as computed by most software and computer services have actually been using the Lot of Spirit! The Lot of Spirit is a point which has strong psychological and spiritual overtones, unlike the very physical-plane based Lot of Fortune. The Lot of Spirit has to do with the nature of the will, what you intend (as opposed to what merely happens to you), and also has much to do with career, but apparently more your career as a statement that you make about what you are in the world. It also has to do with illness, like the Lot of Fortune, but it would seem that with the Lot of Spirit we are talking about the spiritual bases of illness as opposed to the physical bases. Unlike the Lot of Fortune, the Lot of Spirit does not often seem to have been use as a first house marker. Paulus Alexandrinus says the following about the Lot of Spirit. "Spirit happens to be lord of soul, temper, mindfulness, and every power; and sometimes it also cooperates in the determination concerning what one does." This is about all we can say about the Lot of Spirit at this point.
The other planets also have lots most of which are partly composed out of the Lots of Fortune and Spirit.
In the following PF = Lot of Fortune, PS = Lot of Spirit
Mercury, Lot of Necessity
"Necessity signifies constraints, submissions, struggles, and wars, and makes enmities, hatreds, condemnations, all the other restrictive things befalling men as a result of their birth." -- Paulus Alexandrinus
Venus, Lot of Eros
"Eros signifies the appetites and the voluntative desires. It becomes a contributing cause of friendship and mutual favor."-- Paulus Alexandrinus
Mars, Lot of Courage
"Courage becomes a contributing cause of boldness, treachery, might, and every villainy." -- Paulus Alexandrinus
Jupiter, Lot of Victory
"Victory becomes a contributing cause of trust, good expectation, contest, and every association; but sometimes it contributes to penalties and rewards." -- Paulus Alexandrinus
Saturn, Lot of Nemesis
"Nemesis becomes a contributing cause of subterranean fates and of everything which is ice-cold, of demonstration, impotence, exile, destruction, grief, and quality of death." -- Paulus Alexandrinus
These quotes from Paulus are about all we know about these lots. None of these appear to have been used as house markers.
The next group of lots are related to family issues:
Lot of the Father
If Saturn is within 17 degrees of the Sun use this formula according to the Greek sources.
Day or Night Lot = Asc. + Ju - Ma
When Saturn is within 17 degrees of the Sun, Arabic sources used a different formula.
Day Lot = Asc. + Ju - Su
I don't know what happens if both Jupiter and Saturn are within 17 degrees of the Sun, but otherwise I prefer the Arabic formula when Saturn is close to the Sun.
Lot of the Mother
Lot of Siblings
Not all sources reverse the formula for Siblings at night, and I am inclined to agree with those sources that do not. I suggest that one start with the day formula used for both day and night charts. This may seem inconsistent of me but there is a principle underlying my position. In any case only experiment will tell.
Lot of Children
Notice that this is the reverse of the Lot of Siblings. Here again some sources do not reverse the formula at night, and here again I agree tentatively with those that do not. Obviously persons born in the daytime have no problem here, but persons born at night will have to experiment. This lot is for both male and female children.
The Lot or Part of Fortune
In addition to the general lot of children, Vettius Valens gives two other lots that pertain to children, a lot of sons, i.e., male children, and a lot of daughters. These are as follows:
Lot of Sons
Lot of Daughters
Vettius Valens makes the following statement about both these and the Lot of Children mentioned in the previous installment.
"When, then, they are afflicted by Kronos [Saturn] and Ares [Mars], they are the causes of childlessness or the destruction of children, but when they are assisted by Zeus [Jupiter], they are the causes of fruitfulness."
Now we come to a group of lots that pertain to marriage, or more precisely male-female relationships. It is not clear from the Greek material how these are to be differentiated, but we do have some assistance from the Arabic material. First here they are:
Parts of Marriage
Lot of Marriage, Men [Hermetic]
Lot of Marriage, Women [Hermetic]
Lot of Marriage, Men [Valens]
Lot of Marriage, Women [Valens]
Lot of Marriage, General
In Al-Biruni, an Arab era astrologer, the two lots attributed to Hermes are simply referred to as lots of marriage. But the other two lots, the one for men and the one for women, are given additional designations. The lot for the marriage of men using the Venus - Sun arc is called "Trickery and Deception of Men toward Women," and "Intercourse of Men." The lot for women that uses the Mars - Moon arc is called "Misconduct of Women," "Trickery and Deceit of Men by Women," "Intercourse of Women, " and "Unchastity of Women." Disregarding for a moment the obvious sexism in these designations, it is quite clear that the marital lots of Valens are not as specifically connected to marriage, but are more connected to sexual relationships in general. But the Hermetic lots, both of which contain Saturn, seem to have more of a connection specifically to legally sanctioned marriage. At this very early stage in my research this principle seems to be holding up, that the Hermetic lots relate to legal marriage, and the lots of Valens relate to male-female sexual relationships in general.
This leaves the general lot of marriage given by Valens that uses the arc from Jupiter to Venus and vice versa. It have little experience with this one thus far, but it too would seem to be connected to general relations between the sexes rather than specifically legal marriage. However, since Jupiter has a strong connection with the law, we cannot rule out this lot also as referring to legal marriage.
In addition to these lots, there are other special purpose lots that are mentioned in the Greek literature. We do not have a clear notion of what all of these may be for, but they are all interesting.
The first of these is the Lot of Basis. As the name suggests, it would seem to be something fundamental. It appears to be a way of combining the lots of Fortune and Spirit and making something that combines their signification. The formula is as follows:
Lot of Basis
Here however it is not day or night that determines the order of the formula. Instead we use whichever is the shorter arc. IF PF - Sp is more than 180 degrees, we use Sp - PF, and vice versa. Its position is always below the horizon or exactly on the Ascendant or Descendant because the Sp to PF arc can never be more than 180 degrees. This may have something to do with its signification because it is always below the earth like a foundation. Also as with Fortuna and Spirit, New Moons and Full Moons have special significance with this lot. At the New Moon all three lots are conjunct the Ascendant, and at the Full Moon, they are all conjunct the Descendant.
Lot of Debt
This is a lot that does not look as if it would function as a first house indicator. The lore on this lot is not abundant, but the logic of lots would indicate that whatever house it would fall into could be a source of financial losses or debt.
Lot of Theft
Also a lot that does not function as a first house indicator. This is one of the few lots that does not contain the Ascendant as a component. As such it resembles the kinds of formulas that one finds in the modern Hamburg School of Alfred Witte.
Lot of Treachery
We have little data on this lot. It is from Vettius Valens.
Lot of Exaltation
This lot is made out of the Sun and Moon and their exaltation degrees. This is one of the few instances in which the exaltation degrees (as opposed to their signs) are used. It is connected to the births of eminent and famous people.
Lot of Being in a Foreign Land
Lot of Accusation
These last two are almost the same. The Lot of Being in a Foreign Land does not switch at night, and the Lot of Accusation does. The structure of the Lot of Being in a Foreign Land clearly tells us that we are not talking about vacation travel here. It is more like a Lot of Exile. The Lot of Accusation indicates the house through which the native is "likely to experience failure, dangers, or downfalls." [Valens] In later astrology this lot became the Lot of Inseparable Illness, i.e., incurable illness, and also the Lot of Police, which accords well with the idea of the Lot of Accusation. I have little experience with the lot as an indicator of illness, but it does seem to indicate areas of life where someone may be accused of something, either falsely or truthfully.
Lot of the Destroyer
In the above formula 'Ru' stands for the ruler of the Ascendant. This is a point that relates to death. We have little systematic information of its use except that it seems to relate to the manner of death. I would urge astrologers not to be careless in the use of this lot.
Robert Hand 2/16/96 - 3/20/96